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Gelish manicure gains popularity thanks to how conveniently it allows us to have glossy, chip-free nails that last for weeks. However, dermatologists warned that gel manicure can cause lasting damage to our nails and also increase the risk of skin cancer, reports Daily Mail.

A gel manicure typically involves applying three coats of gelish nail polish and each coat is set with UV light. The exposure to UV light is what experts pin-pointed as a potential cause to side-effects, including skin cancer, because it can damage skin cells the same way sunbeds do.

Dr Chris Adigun, from New York University School of Medicine, said the UV lamps damage the skin cells in much the same way as sunbeds.

“Women who frequently get gel manicures should consider their skin cancer risk,” says Dr. Chris Adigun from New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Adigun is so concerned about this risk that he has written in the American Academy of Dermatology, advising women to slather suncream on their hands before having a gel manicure.

There are no regulations that allow us an insight to how much exposure we are getting from the machines, and there are no authority at the moment that look into this. What’s scary is that, a study in 2009 found that two middle-aged women developed tumours on their hands following exposure to UV lights for nails. Both women had no family history of skin cancer and both worked indoors and had moderate exposure to sunlight. This study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

Similar to UV exposure through sunlight, another bad side-effect of exposure to these UV lamps during manicure sessions is skin ageing. In other words, wrinkly hands that look older than your actual age.

Finally, Dr. Adigun also confirmed that gel manicure can cause nail thinning and brittleness, although he said it is unclear whether the brittleness is caused by chemicals in the gel polish or from the acetone that is used to remove it. This is probably why gel manicure users tend to complain about fragile nails or nails that peel.

While Dr. Adigun has huge concerns about gel manicure, Creative Nail Designs (CND), the company behind Shellac, which produce gel polishes, says that UV light exposure from a gel manicure lamp is no more dangerous than sitting under strip lighting.

‘The amount of energy from a UV lamp during a nail service would be roughly equivalent to the amount of UV exposure one would experience during a typical day of exposure in indoor fluorescent lighting,” says Dr. David Valia, Director of Research and Development for CND.


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